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It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times..


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Oh hi, take a seat and we will start.


Firstly, a little about us. We visit the Broads up to three times a year and we are an equal opportunities hirer. We own a boat so we know the boats sneaky habits of things dropping off at funny moments.

We wont name the boatyard as this is not a revue, just observations.

This time we decided to hire from this companies “Elite Fleet” and spoil ourselves.


Day 1

So we arrive an hour early and pull up to the quay side fully aware that the yard states that the pick up time is two o’clock but most of our other hirers let us start a little early or at least unload our luggage.

This time no dice as the lady behind the jump informs us the boat is not ready yet – this is odd because we are parked in front of it and no one has been on it and we can clearly see bedding etc laid out. A small operational lie I guess.

Nor was it stated anywhere that they take your car away somewhere so that’s why I left the five litres of wine in the boot. But hey, latter inspection of the brochure says you get preferential parking.

Anyway, we receive our goody bag of groceries and a nice bottle of carver due to us hiring an “Elite Fleet” boat and after a quick show and tell, we are off.

For once the tides are working for us to cross to the southern rivers the next day so we decided to make for Acle to overnight.


Irritating Problem Number One:


We have on-board a depth finder ( most of the broads are not as shallow as you would think) with built in fish finder and a MPH gauge that just isn't working. No where is that rough and ready way of calculating speed by RPM written down so I use experience and keep the revs just under 2000. But this leads to....


Irritating Problem Number Two:

The throttle wont stay at 2100 rpm. It keeps wanting to slide down to 1500. A bit of card in the gap cures this.

So the wife unpacks, likes the separate shower and toilet ( no more wet feet ), the bed is good and hard and she likes the drawers and general space. Doesn’t like the small wardrobe.

The fully electric kitchen is great and I do like the holding tank and water tank gauges. The whole boat is 240v and has a total of 3 alternators and shore power to keep those batteries topped up.

We make Acle and moor up with ease thanks to the effective bow thruster.


Irritating Problem Number Three:

“I don't like that smell back there love”

I go back and have a whiff and I recognise the smell as I work with things that use Hydraulic fluid.

Smelling hot fluid I open the engine hatch and can see that the Hydraulic reservoir is well over filled and leaking down into the bilges. I just propped open the door a little to vent the smell and all was fine. This was a thing I did for the first two days.


Broads Observations:


Pleased to see how fast the regrowth on the newly modelled banks has grown.

Sad to see “Private: No Mooring” has grown.


Day Two.

Up early to catch the tide and ran into...


Irritating Problem Number Four:

This boat comes with a screen demister. Well, this one don’t work. No great gust of hot air when button pushed. Nada. Nothing.


We push on past a packed Stracey Mill and into the boring bits on the approach to GreatYarmouth. Keeping my eye on the depth gauge, I was pleased to note that the depth was really never less than five feet but it really shelved up against the grass bank.

Always love going past the yacht station and I let the incoming tide push us up toward Beccles.

Worried that Beccles maybe packed, the misses phones the station up and is told there is plenty of space and no need to book.

So we turn up and for once my stern on mooring is spot on. There is only about ten spaces spare and no harbour master but a sign says he would be back at 4.30, so we watch a succession of boats turn up, fill with water, do a bit of shopping and leave without paying. Interestingly, two places was reserved and no boats showed. By the night there was only two spaces left.

Still it was a hot day and this started...


Irritating Problem Number Five.

My arms bulged, Muscles ripped and would the slid open roof slide? Just. On closer inspection the roof had taken a massive hit just above the door. The glass fibre had split, the inner headlining had come lose and the front section had buckled making the roof section hard to slide.


Well at least we could sit and watch the sunset but this takes us onto....


Irritating Problem Number Six..

Sadly the helm seat and the saloon seating has worn nearly flat. The saloon seating turns into a double bed and the seat back was busted to by some ham fisted boater.


All this pales into nothing because at 10:30 pm the carbon monoxide alarm goes off. Up I get and vent the boat completely.

Reset the alarm by waving it in the outside air, place it inside again and off it goes.

Open roof, doors and the alarm resets.

As far as I could hear, no one had any heating on but who knows? I was asleep. Could have been Hydrogen gas from the batteries but again, who knows.


Broads Observations:

Loving the southern broads.


More to follow.

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It seems to me you had more then your fair share  of problems.

We were moored next to a boat the other week  at Loddon. They had a number  of problems 

The electric  loo was not working  plus a few  other problems. Now our boat  is 20 plus  years  old.She does play up now and again but she behaved  for our hols

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Great write up. I also have a feeling that I know which operator you are on. Not 100% sure which boat but we did have problems with the sliding roof on the only occasion that we have hired from them ... it wouldn't slide!! Being more experienced now we would call them out if in a similar position again. But I would definitely talk to them about the carbon monoxide alarm going off. 

Looking forward to hearing how the rest of the holiday goes ... and seeing whether you visit any more of my favourite places on the south.

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I have given this some thought – generally about boatyards.

Firstly, I feel for you because you have clearly wanted to treat yourself to something special and expected t to be just that. 

The issue is not helped to a degree when you have boatyards with two types of cruisers you can hire – ‘standard’ and ‘premium’. It means that the premium boats which have more onboard comforts and are generally newer, attract a premium price and with that comes a premium expectation on behalf of the customer.  This is nothing new, I remember years back with Blakes having Blue Chip boats – some that were weeks old but had fridges that would defrost overnight, doors that did not fit properly along with other ‘issues’ which certainly took the shine off the holiday because all you would hear my parents saying “Look at this – and this is meant to be a Blue Chip boat too”.

The issue you’ve got with the boatyard you have hired from is what I have dubbed ‘The Whetherspoon Syndrome’.  This is because Whetherspoons will open a new pub, will make great talk of the bar the toilets and price and sure enough you find it very good, new, well styled and with a quality fit out.  But go back in three years and nothing will have changed – if chairs wobble and tables tilt, they are left and the toilets will get increasingly unhappy places until eventually something will be done to part of the issue – the toilets re-fitted but the carpet in pub, tables and so on left and get more and more worn and tired renewal is very much piecemeal.

The boatyard you have hired from will produce some stunning boats with real innovation and it is good to see such is going on and new boats are being produced continuously year after year.  The problem is those which were once gleaming, are now just a few years old and are still attracting the premium price, but have certainly lost their shine. 

In short a bit here and a bit there is repaired or replaced and when things get a little too tired the boat simply moves from the premium position  into the standard ‘4 flag’ position with a reduction to the hire charge following. 

You’re not the first and not the last to be unhappy, I think a closer attention to detail would go a long way and a more robust winter ‘make over’ being carried - especially to their premium offerings - would help too but sometimes I wonder if it is not so much a poor attitude throughout, but the vision and passion not being felt across all the staff members. 

They also operate from a very tight space to handle such a large operation from not to mention the fact there is shore side accommodation on the same site too.  It really does seem 50/50 absolutely happy and a great holiday and boat or pretty dire and unhappy. I just hope overall you’ve enjoy your time afloat and mostly things were comfortable and nice onboard.


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London Rascal you have nailed it.

There is more of the story to come as fast as I can type but you have it right.

Sitting back and believing all will always be well is a great British illness and may explain why I'm seeing a slow decline on the broads in general.

If you don't keep moving they will paint over you as my dad used to say.

I was so gutted that I stopped off on the way home at Brooms and booked a week in April so this Boatyard has lost that week and I'm going to book another at the end of year.

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2 hours ago, Cheesey said:

London Rascal you have nailed it.

There is more of the story to come as fast as I can type but you have it right.

Sitting back and believing all will always be well is a great British illness and may explain why I'm seeing a slow decline on the broads in general.

If you don't keep moving they will paint over you as my dad used to say.

I was so gutted that I stopped off on the way home at Brooms and booked a week in April so this Boatyard has lost that week and I'm going to book another at the end of year.


You've made a fantastic choice there, you won't go wrong with Brooms we went with broom a few weeks ago and there whole package is great... it says what it says on the tin.. well equipped boat.. friendly take over nothing is a problem... that's why we booked up as soon as we got home for 2017..

We done exactly what you done last year.. called into Broom and viewed the boats.. and booked up when we got home...

I'm NOT going to name and shame the boat yard who gave us the holiday from hell last year 2015... They was rude unsupported not even apology for it .. what made it worse it brought my wife tears.. they was lucky I didn't plant the boat in the office when we took it back 2 days early.. 

Yep BROOMS all the way Cheesy your love it.. what boat have you booked   

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